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USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Hospitality & Technology Leadership

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida wrapped up its third and final town hall last week to discuss consolidating the separate accreditations of its three campuses.

USF Sarasota-Manatee

Florida, especially the Tampa Bay area, has turned into very fertile ground for aspiring beer brewers and up-and-coming microbreweries.

That spirit will be on display Saturday in Sarasota as an all-Florida craft beer festival takes over Nathan Benderson Park.

Sip the Sunshine will benefit the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Food & Beverage Science Program.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

There’s a storefront along Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, a planned community between Sarasota and Bradenton, where future restaurant and hospitality employees are learning their chops.

It’s the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Culinary Innovation Lab, and beginning this semester, every few weeks, it transforms into the Bulls Bistro.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Sometimes the best partnerships are the ones made out of mutual need – take the new arrangement between USF Sarasota-Manatee and the Resort at Longboat Key Club.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s new Culinary Innovation Lab recently opened, and what better way to mark the occasion than with a party catered by students from the College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership?

But when Ashley Pitcher walked into the lab to start cooking, the junior admits she didn’t know what to think.

"It’s definitely not what I expected," the hospitality and event management major said. "I actually was lost the first day I got here; I did not know what we were going to be doing, because there are so many types of kitchens, there’s a bar, there’s a hibachi-style kitchen when you first get in, and then the Tuscan-style kitchen on the side."

Add in a top of the line barbeque out in front of the Lab’s storefront on Lakewood Ranch's Main Street, and you have a veritable chef’s paradise.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF News

It's a four-course meal fit for a king - or at least a dedicated foodie - and it's the work of USF Sarasota-Manatee students.

Start with hors d'oeuvres like passed wild mushroom topped with fontina cheese and pulled lamb bruschetta... move on to a salad of four different greens from Bay Area farms... then "turf and turf," a pairing of Cornish game hen and seared beef tenderloin, alongside a heirloom tomato stack and parsnip puree... and wrap it up all up with "Sweet Endings," a trip of pear cobbler, chocolate fudge brownie over mint syrup, and Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream.

That's the menu planned and prepared by students in USF Sarasota-Manatee's College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership for the "HospitaBull" event held last month.